Guidance

Living in Chile

Advice for British people living in Chile, including information on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more.

Before you go

See our travel advice for Chile for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.

See moving or retiring abroad and our Support for British nationals abroad: a guide.

Visas and residency

See entry requirements for Chile in our travel advice.

British-Chilean dual nationals must enter and leave Chile using their Chilean passport. Chilean entry and exit requirements for dual nationals may change without notice. For further information check with the Chilean Embassy.

After you’ve lived in Chile for 5 years, you may be able to apply for Chilean citizenship.

For information on Chilean immigration law, please contact the Chilean Consulate in London or, if you are already in Chile, please contact the Chilean Immigration Office.

Healthcare

See the health section of our travel advice for Chile.

There are good health facilities in Santiago and other major cities, but private clinics and hospitals are expensive. However, medical care can be limited in remote areas. Public hospitals have been known to experience shortages of basic medicines and equipment. If travelling and/or living in Chile, it is highly advisable to obtain medical insurance. Private hospitals sometimes require payment prior to giving treatment to patients.

For mental health matters, see our travel and mental health guidance for a list of UK and international organisations that can offer support. On Chileans organisations with English-speaking staff, see our list here.

More information about Chile’s public health system can be found on the website of the Ministry of Health.

Please find the Embassy’s list of medical facilities and practitioners here.

Working in Chile

See working in Chile for up to date information on obtaining the right to work in Chile. If in the UK, please contact the Chilean Consulate in London.

For matters related to the recognition of educational qualifications, please contact the Ministry of Education.

Some jobs may require a UK criminal records check (known as a DBS check).

Tax

See tax if you leave the UK to live abroad and tax on your UK income if you live abroad.

We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in Chile. The Internal Tax Service is the national body responsible for tax.

You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

Pensions

See State Pension if you retire abroad and new State Pension.

Chile and the UK do not have a bilateral agreement on Pension funds. However, there are certain procedures that allow the withdrawal of pension fund contributions at the end of your stay in Chile, although the process is not straightforward. The basic conditions are set out on the Pension Regulator’s website (Superintendencia de Pensiones).

It is important that your employment contract contain a clause or annex that specifically states that you will continue to pay national insurance contributions in the UK. In Chile, you will also need to show that you hold a university degree or technical qualification (this will need to be legalised in the UK), and that you have paid the necessary national insurance contributions in the UK to cover you for illness, invalidity, pension and death benefit.

It is also advisable to contact your Chilean Pension Fund (AFP), for further guidance as soon as you take up your position to ensure you understand the documentation that you will need to provide at the end of your stay. The British Embassy is unable to provide a letter confirming your national insurance contributions in the UK, and you will need to direct your enquiry to HMRC.

Benefits

See claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad.

Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you are abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit cannot be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

Finance

To open a bank account in Chile, it is mandatory to have a RUT (a national identity number). You will receive this once you obtained temporary/permanent residence.

See our Guidance on Financial Assistance Abroad and our Support for British Nationals Abroad: A Guide.

Driving in Chile

See driving abroad. In Chile, British Nationals on tourist visas can drive using their UK licence. If you become a resident in Chile, you must apply for a Chilean licence. See the Chilean Driving Licences page.

See taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Voting

British citizens living abroad can vote in some UK elections – you’ll need to register as an overseas voter.

Births

See register a birth abroad.

Deaths

See what to do after someone dies.

Getting married

See getting married abroad .

Renewing passports

See overseas British passports applications and get an emergency travel document (sometimes called an emergency passport).

Pets

See travelling with pets.

Emergencies

Chile uses the following emergency numbers: ambulance (131), fire (132), police (133) or (134).

If you need urgent help, contact the British Embassy in Santiago.

In the case of domestic violence, for emergencies you should call the police on 133 or 134.The Chilean Government has a number set up to address domestic violence (149) where you can receive guidance and report incidents. In the case of violence against women, the equivalent number is 1455. More information on violence against women can be found on the Ministry of Women website . There is also a number for reporting child abuse and receiving information (147).

If you are a victim of sexual assault in Chile, you should report it to the closest police station or call the police (133 or 134). In the case of sexual abuse of minors, you can call 147 for information and to report. In Chile, you can approach the government-support network for victims of sexual assault, who provide psychological and legal support. More information is available at the links below:

You may also wish to contact our consular team in Chile for advice or support. If so, please call +56 22 370 4100 and follow the prompts to the Consular Section. Accommodation and buying property

Accommodation and buying property

See buying a property abroad.

Education

The Ministry of Education has responsibility for the public and private education system in Chile. There are private schools around the country, most of them located in Santiago. The education quality varies highly. There are international schools, including British schools, in the country, most of them located in Santiago, Vina del Mar and Concepcion.

Other useful information

Disclaimer

Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Chilean authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 17 August 2015
Last updated 4 May 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated guidance May 2020

  2. Website updates.

  3. First published.